Lilly You finally get reeled up to the surface and the door pops open. The stallion with you lingers. "That was pretty uh… well, something! I'll be around if you want anymore help with anything on the voyage. My name is Silver Streak."
Selena, Rhanna, and Maeda Lilly has returned, popping out of a bathysphere.
Marina They say that war never changes – but you think that ponies do. It's funny how easy it is to settle into a routine even under very strange circumstances. You are on the 4th floor of the Tower of Mania. Some ponies call it the Tower of Inspiration because they want to wash away memories of its previous owner, but its strange architecture, material makeup, and even colors are flamboyant and unruly. These are your bedchambers – and it's the only room on this floor. In fact, this room is the only part of this floor that has a floor. It's complicated. The tower consists of a walled spiral staircase which gives way to rooms which jut off the side of the staircase like leaves off of a sunflower plant. It's an unusual design and probably shouldn't be very stable – but such thoughts are easily dismissed when the middle of your room is a frozen pillar of flame. This phenomenon is much harder to explain. It still radiates light and heat – you can cook things on it, which is why you were given the room – but it doesn't move even slightly. Frozen in time, not in temperature.
In any case, now that you're up, it's probably time to check on the war effort. Your window is nearby so that won't be too difficult.
>>610895 Let's see. You've got Madness Square firmly under control – that's where this tower is. That's something of a relief, but you don't expect it to come under threat, it has turned into something of a market and civilian district. There's Insanity's Breach – it looks alright, which is good, because it means you can still go out. Most of the military-inclined sorts gather there. Callosum Tunnel would take you to Depression Square, but it's collapsed. Some of the ponies here affably refer to it as Nightmareburg. Funny how easy it is to trivialize something so close by if there are some rocks in the way. You can't see it form here, but you assume that Medulla is still functioning. If your brother is awake, that's where he is for sure.
>>610896 A Hero wouldn't use a power like The Voice to murder her high king and usurp her throne – so it's a good thing you haven't!
>>610899 ''Alright…Selena told me I need a catalyst to do alchemy by the way,that explained why I couldn't help her last time…Not that it matters. Anyway,enjoying yourself how?This trip it's kinda boring…''
>>610900 Well, he's not exactly the lazy sort, so if there's light out, he's probably there. Right, well, I guess I'll make something for breakfast, then make my rounds in the square and the breach. Should probably also make Coriander something, since he never packs a lunch.
>>610905 ''Aw…Well I think I am going to walk a little…I really can't sleep right now…'' WIth that she walked away looking at all the fascinating things she could find…in a ship >since Sion isnt here I guess I'll just look around see what I can find
>>610906 When your ice chest was first described to you, you thought you'd be able to check on its contents at a glance without opening it. Unfortunately, it turns out that just because something is made of ice, that doesn't mean it's very easy to see through. This chest has little bubbles and swirls caught in it as ice so often does. You still wouldn't want to stick your tongue on it. Another strange courtesy of the room – you open it up. Just fish inside. Not even anything very interesting - mostly tuna. You'll have to go out if you want to make a nicer meal.
>>610908 Well, hardly anyone ever complains if it's fish, but… I suppose I'll hit the market first to pick up some greenery. Probably got that craving from Dad, since no other seaponies I've met really look at kelp and seaweed as food options. I'll sigh a little and shut the ice box. "I wonder how dad's doing… it's been a long time since we left." Gathering my things, I'll head out. Time to go shopping for breakfast.
>>610911 The boat just… shook. It was almost imperceptible but… your gut gives you a bad feeling. You have learned to trust your gut.
>>610913 You don't even remember him, other than the stories mom told you. You were, what, two at the time? One?
The trip down the stairs is about what you expect. It's such a strange tower, but the spiral stairs are just spiral stairs. Unlike your tower, Madness Square has been flooded to afford ease of movement, but not entirely – just a foot or so for shallow coasting. The folks down here in the market are a mixed bag of both of your heritages, but it's mostly leaning toward your mother's side. There are fishers in with various catches. Yellowtail and turtle meat seem to be today's catches – oh, and the clam scavengers caught lobsters.
If you want plants, though, you'll have to go down to Medulla where your brother is. It's his little hobby project. It's probably worth mentioning now that you're slightly runty. You always thought that twins were supposed to be more similar, but your brother is distinctly taller than you – which is not at all fair because you were born a couple minutes earlier. You're just a couple inches shy of average pony height, but anytime a dispute comes up you'd think those inches were the difference of ten years to Coriander. Well, he's not all bad.
Prices by the Pound: Yellowtail: 12 SD Turtle: 12 SD Clam: 6 SD Lobster: 36 SD
>>610915 The ponies around here look like rough mercenary types, though it's hard to be intimidating while enjoying a buffet. There's a card game going on at a table nearby, and there is music being performed.
>>610917 At first you think nothing has happened. You glance around… look up, and the sails have been completely shredded! You're stranded! You blink in surprise, and the scene resumes – the sails are intact once more. Ominous.
You feel another little shake… It seemed a bit stronger this time…
>>610914 Hmm. Lobsters are fancy things… might make good dinner. Luckily, the ice box keeps things cold so I can plan ahead a bit. I'll pick up three lobsters, just in case mom and Coriander actually manage to be at the same table on the same day, a dozen clams, two turtles, and five yellowtail. Should come to 364 SD, if my math is right. While picking things out, I'll make some smalltalk with the fishers. "So, how's the fishing on the reef? Good, it looks like."
>>610919 Eh… you worked your way through the foreword and the first few chapters. It's mostly history and government theory. Kinda boring. You wish she'd just get to the point.
>>610920 "Well, now that we're in open water, there's less competition from the mainland. Fishers said they saw a ship as they were coming in at dawn, though. If we get far enough out we might find some more interesting stuff. You know it's something of a hobby of mine to find curiosities. Have you ever had electric eel?"
>>610922 You just draw looks of confusion from the other adventurers on deck.
Your coat turns a silvery sheen of chrome.
>>610923 Maeda is suddenly yelling at the top of her lungs.
>>610925 "You'd think. It tasted more like normal eel than I was hoping. In fact, sometimes I think it was just my mind playing tricks on me when I thought it felt more… energetic? Charged? I dunno. You know the brain works in mysterious ways."
He glances at the surrounding square.
"You know, no pun intended. All this brain coral gives me a headache."
There's an earth-shatter SMASH as the ship shifts. The planks groan and a couple of rigging lines snap.
There's complete silence on the ship as everyone stands motionless, unsure of what to do. You see a couple of adventurers unstrap their weapons and shields. A nearby musketeer backs up against the wall of the aftcastle and warily scans the horizon down his barrel.
>>610931 I'll nod. "Yeah, but that's probably because of who used to live here. At least the stuff isn't made of actual brains." After paying, I'll speak again. "By the way, what sort of ship was it? I don't think I've heard of the fishers spotting ships for a while."
>>610934 She became lucid again as she shouted,covering her head As she looked around for a safe place to hide into ''Okay okay Stop shouting'' '1d10' do I need to roll for that? I dunno,but rolling just in case I do
>>610940 "I'm not sure. The fisherponies said they didn't get close. By the way, your mother the High Priestess came by the square earlier looking for volunteers. I think something big might be going on down at the Breach. Usually the Captain comes to see about volunteers, not the High Priestess. My son went with them – make sure he's safe if you go that way, will you? He's all I've got."
>>610939 It's a mass teleportation… they're trying to knock everyone off the main deck – get below!
>>610945 "Trench. And don't forget to store your load of fish, don't want them to spoil."
>>610948 >>610947 >>610946 >>610944 Only some of the adventurers take your advice – others taking your statement for cowardice. You glance over your shoulder just to see a near-blinding wave of light – and they all disappear. Rising from the depths you see some sort of extremely strange monster floating off the edges of the ship.
Nearby, you hear a seadog curse. "Avast! We have Mind Flyers!"
>>610950 I'll nod again. "Alrighty, I'll ask about him when I get there." And then it's back up the tower to store my fish, and whip up two batches of turtle soup. So convenient they've got their own bowls.
>>610951 >>610953 >>610955 These… "Mind Flyers" as they have been called – they look like brains (if you've seen brains before), or a crumpled sheet of paper (if you haven't seen them). Their coloration is dark blue with yellow speckles – like a lichen or something growing on a dark rock. They seem to be closing in…
Mind Flyer 1 Mind Flyer 2 Mind Flyer 3
Maeda Tree [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓] Lilly Belle [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓] Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓]
>>610956 Right. Medulla isn't directly connected to Madness Square – it's freely accessible from the ocean, though. That means you need to exit through Insanity's Breach.
You head down – this place is fortified and the very streets look like an armory. Surprisingly though, there are much fewer guards than usual. It's only a token guard. In fact, they're mostly new ponies, or ponies that aren't associated with the guard. Ponies like Trench. Maybe he has some answers.
>>610957 Rhanna took a moment to examine just what in the hay were those things '1d10' appraise She also looked around for something that she could use to defend herself. if those things were magical,they would probally shoot some sort of amgical beam at her '1d10' gadget
You try to tinker something together, but you can't find any good supplies…
>>610960 It doesn't take, maybe because you still have some of the wine from before in your system.
Mind Flyers 1 and 3, perhaps sensing, an opening, both fire off blasts at you. One bounces off your mirror, shattering it and restoring your coat to normal. The second penetrates! It burns in your brain!
>>610961 It doesn't seem to like that at all – it closes in and smashes its full body into you – ouch, it's like stone!
Mind Flyer 1 Mind Flyer 2 SLC Mind Flyer 3
Maeda Tree [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░] Lilly Belle [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░] Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓] Selena [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓]
>>610970 I'll shake my head. "Taking volunteers is news to me. I didn't think things were that bad that we needed them…" I'll stomp a hoof lightly. "You think she would have mentioned it, at least. I'm gonna have to have a talk with her about this. Do you know where she is?"
Ouch! Maybe yourself! Brain 1 fired at you! It pierces your brain, but the flesh remains untouched…
>>610975 The bolt goes wide. You glancingly strike Flyer 3 (2 is dead). Damn, is it made of rock?
Mind Flyer 1 Mind Flyer 3
Maeda Tree [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░] Lilly Belle [▓░░░░░░░░░] Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓] Selena [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░]
>>610973 "Oh, I think she might be involved in the attack. Er, that is to say, I didn't hear the planning directly, but it sounded like they're taking all the experienced warriors to seize Depression Square. Apparently a big force of Discordians left to attack a ship, and they're seizing the opportunity. If we took Depression Square, we'd have most of the frontal lobes. I mean… front part of the city. Sorry."
>>610976 "It's fine… I just hope she's alright." I'll grimace a bit. "Well, that answers that, at least. Hope the ship doesn't get taken out, since that would mean we don't get attacked from above. Anyway, you stay safe and make sure you get home to your dad, right? He worries."
>>610978 MIND FLYER Type: Aberration/Discordian Health: [▓▓▓▓▓░░░] Ability: Quickened Magic Bolt (Recharge 0) Description: Appears to be made of stone, shaped like a brain. They house a grim intelligence. Weakness: Magic Bolt autocrits
You strapped together a little buckler! It'll give you +1 to Dodge actions.
Flyer 3 sees you standing still and thinks you're an easy target, firing off a blast.
YELP! The pain!
>>610979 The ship jostles and you slip, tripping over yourself, going helpless.
You can only hold one potion at a time! You pass them out to everyone.
>>610980 You blast it twice, and it collapses, ded.
>>610981 You feel tired from your Fervor, and become Helpless.
You try to stand up (1), but don't have the energy.
Mind Flyer 3
Maeda Tree [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░] HLP Lilly Belle [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░] Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░] Selena [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░] HLP
>>610991 You dive out of the frontal part of the reef. From here, you can see all the lights and sights of the reef. It is a truly beautiful place, lit up by bio-luminescent plants and corals. Medulla is way at the bottom, so it'll be a dive from here. You can also see the cloudy ink fog that follows the Aquamarine City everywhere. If the reef camouflage growing on top wasn't enough to keep prying eyes away, the dense field of ink surely is. The only downside is that it means you can't see up – up to where that ship might be, many many leagues above.
Down here, below the outer 'shell' of reef, you can see the long stoney supports of the city, which connect to huge crab legs which walk the city along the depths. You can see a bulbous outcropping here – Medulla. That's where Coriander is.
>>610998 You pop out of the water in a great pool, and the first thing you see is waves of cane.
Sugar cane, that is. The entry pool is surrounded with it. You push past, and you can see the inner workings of outer Medulla. This area is a sort of hydroponic farm, growing all sorts of farm vegetables. Coriander's hobby. He's probably currently occupied with his real task right now, though, which is managing the steam essence inside inner Medulla. He does this, strangely enough, with plants. No one seems to understand the mechanics of it but him, but the rest of this place doesn't make sense anyway, so who cares?
Besides the sugar cane, there's some rice and carrots here. In the corner, he's been working on an apple tree, but it isn't bearing fruit yet and it doesn't look like it's doing well in the limited light environment.
>>611000 You smash the old shield and use the parts to make a new shield. >Gadget: Makes a nifty device to aid with a specific task. Once successfully built, the gadget provides +1 to a specific action for the owner. A gadget can be given to allies. The gadget breaks if the owner rolls a failure when using that skill, or a new gadget is built.
>>611002 Well well well. Every time I come down here I'm impressed completely anew. Let's pop out of the water and start looking. Snap off a piece of sugarcane on my way up, one of the top bits, and chew on it as I look around.
>>611005 She does a doggy scrunchy face ''Fine…'' She said taking the shield and testing it ''Maybe I can smash those things with it next time they come around…Well…Maybe…It's kinda small to be a shield,really…''
>>611006 There are weird furrows here in the dirt he has collected. It looks like brain coral, but you've been assured that this is what a surface farm looks like. You have no idea why surface farmers go to such pains to make their dirt look like coral – seems like a waste of time to you.
>>611007 Many of the other ponies have finished fighting Mind Flyers of their own – in victory or defeat. You see a couple of adventurer ponies laying on the deck looking totally catatonic. Possibly braindead.
There are a few sailor ponies just looking up dumbfounded at the missing sails.
>>611016 ''Wait what happened to the-'' she looked up ''oooh…That's bad…'' Rhanna immediately looked around for some sort of cloth,maybe they could,you know,replace the sails?with blankets or something like that
>>611015 He finally comes out, looking hot and sweaty. "Just the way I like it!"
Coriander is not a particularly beefy or large pony – in fact, he's quite average. Not even lanky or fat. In spite of this, he is distinctly taller than you even on a good day. On a day like today, he seems to tower nearly a head taller than you. It's infuriating!
He picks you up in a hug that lasts just a couple of seconds. "You can be a real cutie, you know that? Thanks for the food, I thought I was just going to have to snack on sugar cane, lil sis. I see your sweet tooth is already active."
>>611016 Silver Streak runs over. "Did you see that? They got away with our sails! I saw the whole thing!"
>>611018 I'll grumble at him. "You big dork, I don't have a sweet tooth. I am sweet." I'll pull out one of the turtleshell bowls, conveniently plugged with water-tight plugs, and hoof it over. Then I'll pull out the other one for myself. "So how's the steam thing going?"
>>611019 ''Some sort of flying brain thing,they're completely made of stone too! I saw that they shoot magic lasers and such but they are actually pretty weak to them,would be good if we could like,grab one and make it shoots it's friends you know?''
>>611020 "Well, it might be over your little baby head, but it seems to be working fine. It would be going better if we had the controls, but they're somewhere up above in the middle lobe. Honestly not much changes in there, it's routine. I'm more interested in my side projects."
He scarfs down his bowl. "Want a tour? I can give you a pony-back ride."
>>611023 "Well, the reason I was coming to you was because I hoped you saw too, because you were with me before and you'd be able to confirm it… I definitely saw them dive underwater with it, but it looked to me… well, it seemed like they were headed right for that moving reef, but it's so hard to tell because of the dark zone."
>>611026 "It could be done, but it would take a while to sew good sails that will hold up in a storm. I'd say that's probably going to be the captain's plan. That, and rowing until we can get the sails up. But… if we could get them back…"
>>611023 >>611021 "Okay, you all need to calm down now. First of all, the sails are gone. They won't come back. As such, we have to get moving in some other way. Get to paddling! I will be asking the heavens for a sign on where the sails are!"
>>611025 "Don't patronize me." I'll give him a half-hearted smack. "Anyway, it seems that a bunch of the enemy forces went up to attack a ship that floated by earlier, so mom decided to lead the charge to take Depression Square before they regroup. You might be able to look at those controls sooner than you think."
>>611029 "In the rooms. I'm sure we'd be happy to have your help, but the sails are very large. It will take days to complete them, but any aid will surely be appreciated."
>>611028 "The captain will probably order some of the sailing team down to row soon."
>>611031 "There may be suits in the hold… I can ask the captain. I just wanted to make sure I was right."
>>611030 "Hm… even if they take Depression Square and open up the tunnel, we'll still only have the frontal lobes. What we really want is in the Midbrain, but that's where they're dug in the most. I hope Mom is okay… Why attack now?"
>>611032 She headed to the rooms,looking at anything interesting she could find that would help they need to get out of here,that was the thought that she had in mind when searching '1d10' search '1d10' also appraise,maybe there is still something on the ship itself
>>611032 "Weren't you listening? I said a bunch of them left to attack a ship that was passing by overhead. Hopefully the ponies on it are strong enough to wipe those guys out, so Mom doesn't have to worry about them regrouping."
>>611037 Rhanna used her teeth to tear off a few chunks around the corners of the sheets to make big holes and then picked up the ropes and started using that mind of her to get to work on making a decent sail '1d10'
>>611039 He rolls his eyes in annoyance. "There's nopony here to take as mate. We know everyone! And by the way, I don't see you with any pony, little sis."
>>611040 "Right. We'll go down together! Though… I'm not much of a fighter, and there are only four suits."
He heads off to retrieve them.
>>611038 That's one sheet, one-ply. You think you'll need about twenty sheets, quadruple plied to make one sail. And you need three. So that'll be… two hundred and thirty nine more of those. Then you have to sew them all together, of course.
>>611041 "W-well, that's just because my standards are way too high. And, well, I'm only 18, so it's not like I'm in any rush." Changing subjects. "So, what do you have back there that's got you so bothered?"
>>611041 She quickly made the calculations in her head then recaulculated just to be sure … … yep. this will take forever. She sighed and abandoned her little ''project'' ''Stupid brain things…Next time I'll whack them with…uh…my paws…'' She looked up at her own paws,frustated that she didn't had a weapon of her own ''ugh…I guess I'll just…Go help the others…'' She went back,looking around for anywhere where she could help ''You need help?'' '' Need any help mister?'' ''Can I help you?''
>>611045 "Uh, the plants. I dunno, they're not taking to this sea like they did the last one. I'm managing them but it's a full time job when they usually just sort of handled themselves."
>>611046 They offer you work in two distinct opportunities: helping sew a sail, or helping row down below.
Something else catches your eye, though. A pony that was with Lilly is struggling to carry four pony-shaped… things up on a transport block. They're very strange – they're like pony statues without any features and they're made of metal and pipes and stuff. You bet you could reconfigure one with your smithing skills to be shaped like a dog. The statues have little windows so you can see in the face, but they're empty right now.
>>611044 >>611040 SS returns with a big transport block full of pony-shaped suits. There are four of them. "This is all we have."
>>611047 "Too much salt, maybe? At any rate, you should really get some help down here. I'm pretty sure not all of the seaponies think your project is weird." I'll give a smile. "I mean, when you grow these delicious sugar canes, who could say no to that?"
It's not easy being drunk. But the absolute worst is when the universe doesn't seem to make sense. You've had days with pretty bad hangovers, sure – and you've had days where you've drunk enough to see pretty strange sights. But when both happen at once, it's just unfair. You feel the distinct sensation of withdrawal - a hangover headache, yet you appear to be under conditions that can only be explained by a drunken stupor. Surely this can't be reality.
You find yourself stripped – no weapons armor or gear – in what appears to be, upon closer inspection, a ray of light that has been shaped into a bubble. There are other adventurous sorts here in a similar predicament, but the difference between you and them is that your paws are weapons all on their own. You've never met a ray of light that could stop you, and now doesn't seem like a good time to start. Still… it might be worth asking the others around here if they're seeing what you're seeing, just to be sure it's reality.
>>611247 "Unless there's some kind of craftspony around here who could reconfigure this suit for you to use it…"
>>611245 "I would strongly advise covering the hole with all of your strength. Fortunately, the better part of the suit is metal – that's why it's so clanky. Hard to smash."
>>611244 >>611243 "No – swift movement in these suits is your enemy. I'd say, get down there, smash the brains, and get out. Don't linger around too much sightseeing at that reef. We're not going anywhere fast, but I'll send you down with a line. As long as it's intact, you can jerk three times rapidly and we'll reel you in. Otherwise you'll have to swim back up, or create a break in the suit so that the escaping air will propel you up – that's a last resort, of course."
"Well, I don't think things are getting much better either way. Say, dog, you wouldn't happen to be one of them psychics, would you?"
There are two nude stallions in another bubble floating near you. Based on their grizzled faces, you assume they're adventurers of a sort as well. Perhaps it's now worth noting the area outside of your light-prisons: it's a sort of strange marble room that's shaped like a marble cake with several layers missing. Weird rippling walls that don't seem to make sense. Like a tangled string. You don't know a lot about architecture, but this seems like an unstable and impractical style.
>>611253 >>611252 It's not too difficult to reshape, considering that most of it is like a suit of armor already. The only tough part is re-cementing the cracks, but you get it working suitably soon.
>>611251 "Good luck. And remember, retreat is the better half of wisdom… or is it courage? I can't remember the saying, but you get the idea."
>>611254 "Ech!" Realizing the sphere of light where I am imprissoned might burst if my weapon hands brush it slighly and cause me to fall on the marble cake room and cover me in its delicious frosting for everyone to enjoy, I tucked in my weapon hands and try to stay as still as I possibly can!
"Psychics! Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychics Psychicsh Psychicsss….." "Whats a Psychich?" I gag at the nude stallion as I wince at the sight of them being all naked being all stalliony at my face. Yeechh.
"Well, I suppose when you're ready you can just… jump. Remember, first you'll go through the Light Zone – that's the area lit by the sun. There will be a brief pass through what is called the Dark Zone – where it is too deep fro the light to reach. If it is as it was before, you may pass through that strange ink barrier – but then, you should see the reef. It's lit up by plants, Lilly can direct you."
>>611258 "You know, one of them fellers that does magic with his mind. Are you one of them? See, it's my reckoning that these brain lots are talking to each other, but in their heads. Like a sort of mental communication."
>>611260 Hm.. you can't seem to get it to work just right.
>>611261 >>611262 The Light Zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only, so you unload. You see great schools of fish here, and no trace of a reef below, only darkness. In the distance, you think you see the leviathan form of a whale, apparently unperturbed by the recently skirmish with the brains.
>>611264 >>611265 After the Light Zone, you sink further still into the Dark Zone. If there are fish here, you can't see them, but you sense shifting in the water, perhaps indicative of large beasts that are better left unseen…
The water grows uncomfortably thick for a moment and you sense that your helmet has been covered in something, you can't see anything to make out what… you fall for a long time after that, and finally touch down on something solid. Feels like sand.
>>611274 Ah, that's better. With the ink gone, you can clearly see the beautiful reef ahead. Your compatriots are stumbling around blind, but communicating at this depth may be difficult. It's probably faster just to fix them yourself.
>>611277 It seems hard and firm, like a sort of reinforced glass. Maybe with a strong enough punch you could smash it.
"We're other adventurers, like you! How drunk did you get? You were on a ship, like us, headed out to adventure in the New World. But we got teleported down here by some weird brain monsters. They seem to have access to very powerful magics."
>>611280 >>611281 >>611276 >>611273 Each in time, Lilly wipes off your visors and you can see, with the ink gone. You notice that if you press your helmets together, it helps carry the vibrations in your voices, making communication possible, just difficult.
>>611283 Before you is something strange. It appears to be an enormous grab. Gigantic. No, no, bigger than that. We're talking the size of a city. Train-length legs, in fact, several trains thick. It appears to have a shell like bottom half, but up above you see the radiant light of a reef coming off the top. The whole reef appears to be riding on a crab, if the legs are anything to judge by.
>>611313 >>611312 Follow through the entrance Lilly motions to. I had to refrain from saying "the left entrance", because something in the back of my mind kept telling me that, had I done it, you'd have said that was the right entrance relatively to Lilly.
>>611316 If I just wanted to be difficult, I could say that based on your relative position, it looks like she's motioning to the other entrance!
>>611315 There's a place to surface just in front of you! Lilly's headed up in there.
>>611317 >>611318 You burst free of the water. This area requires a little explaining. You appear to be in a rough hewn cave made entirely of the precious mineral Aquamarine. There are buildings carved out of it nearby, but others are made out of different materials. You are at what appears to be a security checkpoint. It has all the standard trappings: portcullis, standing guards armed with polearms – ponies. Flags of a sort, though there isn't any wind down here to blow them.
The odd thing is, that though you have surfaced, the area is still flooded up to the top of your legs, and you swear if you squint at the guards' rear legs (also submerged), they simply aren't there.
They left their spears. "Halt, and identify yourselves!"
The stallion who speaks seems a little uncertain of his profession. Perhaps something of a conscript or a volunteer, he's obviously not regular guard material. He seems young, perhaps in his teens. You'd judge sixteen, so about four years younger than yourself.
"Listen, our gear is in the next room, but if one of those brains comes back and sees us gone, it'll raise the alarm. Do you think you can stay here and keep this room locked down while we go recover our stuff? We'll bring your equipment too."
>>611322 I look at them as I try to shake off the hangover. "Hey now, be sure not to go through my stuff, I got shit in there that needs no hooves on them understand." I then extend a hand "Flagon, and you two?"
>>611331 A few minutes later, your suspicions are confirmed. Two brains float into the room. They're strange… made up of what appears to be stone. They're dark blue and have some lichen-like yellow speckles.
>>611332 >>611333 "It's not a crab, it's a brain. I mean, not a brain, it's more of a city that's shaped a bit like a brain. Wait a minute, I'm asking the questions here. Listen, the High Priestess took out an army to attack the Mind Flyers while they were distracted by your ship. They're fighting in the other frontal lobe – I mean, square. But we don't know who won, yet. So tell me, who won on the other side?"
>>611337 The brain things rotate in air, as if silently looking around. After a moment, they seem to notice you, and close in to attack!
Think wisely about your abilities. This could be an extremely dangerous fight if you don't use your skills very carefully.
Mind Flyer 1 Mind Flyer 2
>>611339 "The city has strange properties that makes it behave unlike other cities. The air down here is safe to breathe, it's made locally, in Medulla."
>>611338 >>611340 "If your sails were taken, they were taken by the Mind Flyers. They're a sort of aberration created by Discordians to serve their evil purposes. If your sail is here, it's in one of the lobes – I mean districts! controlled by the Discordians. Maybe they took it back to the other frontal lobe, where the Priestess is. It's called Depression Square."
>>611350 "Really? Then why are you letting us in with all of this information? To be honest you're doing a terrible job being a guard. Just let us through and we won't tell anything and we won't break anything. Hey maybe no one will even notice us and you can keep your job. Come on mister we just want our sails so we can get out."
>>611359 "That's incredibly helpful. I'm sure I'll just wave the basket around and whomever it's going to is going to leap out into the street." I'll sigh a bit, then start making my way back to the exit. "But I'm taking my courier's fee out of this sugarcane." I'll snap off another end from a different cane plant, and, with it between my teeth, I'll dive into the water. Back to the square.
>>611353 >>611359 She swatted it away "Hey don't do that okay?I'm trying to have a reasonable argument and you do this. One: my name is Rhanna. And I'm not some kid. Two: We are peacefully trying to get in,get our things that were taken by the brains that you are also fighting against. Seriously we are practically trying to help you and what is your response? Hit me in the head."
>>611370 Rhanna removed her helmet as well. Letting her droopy ears fall on her shoulders and exposing the huge scar on her head. "That's terrible! Well miss Selena has that love poison thing she used with a pony once! Maybe if she used it with this guy he would stop being a bother"
>>611373 >>611375 "Well, geez, that sounds awful. If my mom were here, she'd probably have a better idea of what to do for you in the meanwhile. I mean, she's the head priestess of the Lunite sect here…" I'll frown a little and float closer to them. "But she went off to try and get a hold on some of the enemy territory while they were distracted… was that your ship?" >>611376 "I know that she and Princess Luna are, well, to put it bluntly, as different as night and day. Princess Luna wouldn't curse anyone to have their souls flayed."
>>611378 "Me? Well, I'm what happens when a seapony and a land pony fall in love and do stuff." I'll shrug. "As for the weirdness, well, we are trying to clear out the mass of Discordian leftovers. We're making pretty good headway, though it's rough going with the few of us that there are." >>611379 I'll look at the paw for a second, and then put a hoof on it. "I'm called Marina. Nice to meet you." >>611380 Ain't meta, Groves mentioned the curse, and what it's going to do. And c'mon, you think a priestess's daughter wouldn't know about the princesses? "My dad was a landpony, and my mom's a priestess. You kinda get that stuff hammered into you as you grow up."
>>611381 What did luna even have to do with that? "I had no idea your folks followed the princesses too… Truly, they have no bounds. But this is no time for idle chatter, we are in a race against time and need to recover those stolen sails!"
>>611382 "I dunno about out to get you, but yeah, the Mind Flyers serve Discord. They attack anybody, though. And they're not myths. Otherwise I wouldn't be here." I'll splash a little half-heartedly at you. "Relax, we're safe enough here. They're not going to swoop in on us anytime soon." >>611383 When NMM is brought up, so is Luna. "Well, you're likely not going to get very far, unless you can breathe underwater. Mom might be able to help, but I don't know when she'll be back from the front lines…" I'll sigh a bit and sink, chewing idly on my sugarcane. "Oh, hey, maybe you can answer something for me. What were those weird round anchors trailing from your ship? They don't look like they're any use at holding it still."
>>611386 "Well that aswers it…" She said placing her hands on her hips "Well diamond dogs are a race of evolved canines that are capable of standing on two feet and burrow tunnels with ease. My race has an affinity for gems and so we live to find them. That's why we live underground. See? " she said pulling the bright red ruby she had on the collar on her neck. "This ruby is invaluable to me. It's the first gem I found."
>>611387 "That's one way of putting it. And we only half-flooded the place so ponies like yourselves and ponies like me can both be comfortable. In Madness Square you'll find a market, and the military types all live here in the breach, though they're mostly all at Depression Square with mom." >>611388 "Well, I've got gills as well as lungs, so it's just a matter of picking one over the other when it comes to swimming. I don't know what you all will do, since I doubt those things sticking to your helmets stretch far enough to even leave the breach here…" >>611389 "It's very pretty! You must have had to dig really deep to find that."
>>611391 Well, that's probably from the market. "Well, yeah. Blood would get pretty thin if we didn't bring in volunteers from time to time. Plus there were the original inhabitants who got tired of being around brain coral all the time." I'll shrug. "Of course, we had to bring them in in a boat we managed to find after taking this area of the city. Weirdest thing, it goes underwater and you don't drown."
>>611393 "Well, it's been underwater for a long time… and this city hasn't been near land for a while. I may move slowly, but it does move." I'll think for a minute. "You know, I think mom might even let you guys borrow it, if you ask nicely. Since it's a matter of life and death and all. That way, you wouldn't need to wait around or fight brains to get your sails back." I'll scrunch a bit. "I think. I dunno how it works, really. It might still need sails. Only thing I really know how it works is my ice chest, and that's for keeping my food cold until I cook it."
>>611395 "Well, ice and magic. There's also the fire I've got up in my room that I use to cook, but that's kinda weird and I don't think I could move it if I wanted to…" I'll chew my sugarcane a bit more. "Still, that chest can keep fish and stuff good for days. Maybe even weeks, if I push it."
>>611399 "Or it could be really neat, like the underwater boat or the ice chest. That's the thing, you can never tell." I'll snort to the side. "It's really a bother, but if some good can come out of it, it might be worth it to hang onto some things that get dug up." I'll blink. "Oh, geez, listen to me prattling on. I've got a delivery to make! If you need somewhere to wait until my mom gets back, then follow me and try to keep up. I'll show you where I live."
>>611401 "Well, sure, but if those sails of yours ended up on the other side of Depression Square, I don't think anypony here has the materials to make new ones. And you don't have the time to wait, right?" I'll start swimming towards Madness Square. "Come on, the merchants are this way, but it's mostly fishers and small goods."
>>611614 >>611615 "Well… mom's out on the attack, so she can't help, shops are closed… We could start clearing the short way to Depression Square and save us some time in following after mom if you guys want to…" I'll close my eyes and think heavily. "We could go out in open water to get there too, but you're not seaponies and I don't know how long your air tubes are." I'll huff a little. "Or we could just get something to eat and wait for them to come back, though you did say you're in a hurry." >>611620 "Well, the smithy sells all sorts of stuff, like horseshoes and maybe some weapons, but he's mostly doing upkeep of hinges and nails. Never went in the alchemy store aside for a few lichens I use for garnishes. The general store generally has useful things in it, like sea salt, and the textiles mill makes cloth and stuff."
>>611629 >>611624 Rhanna's tail was wagging behind her. She seemed very excited. "Oh man oh man! Mis Selena can I go see the blacksmith? Please it will be real quick and you won't even notice that i was gone!"
>>611622 I drink one of the potions and give adventurer 1 one of it. "Very close, I had to confuse one of them so it thinks I am its friend you know. Besides now that I am sobered up a bit, its time to get out of this place."
I then look around, how does the place look like, any obvious escape points.
"Looks like we are deep in this brain thingies territory, we need to get out of here silently got it?"
>>611632 "Okay, but I'm blaming you if she yells at me. Are we going through Callosum or are you swimming?" >>611633 "Closed for now, but I'm sure they'd like to see a new face." >>611636 "Well, the only problem with that is that Callosum Tunnel, which is the short way, was blocked off so that we couldn't be attacked by the Discord forces. So it'll take a bit of work to clear it, though we might be able to get some volunteers to help dig…" I'll look back at Rhanna. "You said Diamond Dogs are really good at digging, right? Think if I can rustle up some ponies, you can tell them where to dig?"
>>611635 You can't gain more than one potion from a Distill Life (e.g.: to prevent you from just making a bunch before going into battle), but I let the other two have the potions. You can brew a new batch if you want one.
There are two main exits.
"The other way we went was a dead end, some kind of armory, but it was up on an elevated platform. There's some kind of battle going on out in the rest of this… city. I think we can sneak out in the chaos."
>>611637 >>611636 >>611637 Rhanna seemed a little down at the notice of the Smith being closed but he enthusiasm quicker back in at Marina's words "See? Marina said that they would lIke a new face!" She said squeezing her cheeks cutely. "Come on miss Selena! Maybe if I get a weapon…or some tips anything from them I could be useful…and you could count on me to help…Maybe they can even teach me to craft a Catalyst…I can even go alone and we meet up later right here…pleaaaaaaaase!"
>>611642 >>611645 Well, that's that I guess. "I'll go see if I can't round up some volunteers, you guys head on over to the Tunnel." I'll point over at it. "It's over there, and if you see a door full of rubble, you're going the right direction."
>>611640 I think for a moment. "I've been thinking, if we are underground then perhaps if the armory is a dead end and if it has soft ground on it, I perhaps be able to dig ourselves outside of this mess. I rather avoid whatever those floating brians are, they remind me of bad hangovers. What do you think Rising Wind?"
>>611655 Insanity's Breach boasts a great portcullis at the front gate, the great cathedral – which is in a state of construction as the Lunites work fervently to convert it. It wasn't always a cathedral of course – Discordian cathedrals don't convert well, or easily. No, this was a furnace that was inexplicably huge and built out of stained glass.
There's also the barracks of the city guard, which was converted from a pub (and still boasts one in the front office).
>>611664 You cross on a large bridge above what appears to be a barricade or fortification below. The brains are digging in to ambush whoever comes through the great doors next. From your position on the bridge, you could jump down and attack the brains, or ignore them and sneak past.
>>611665 Not many seaponoes here. Today's special is a Pineappletini.
The bartender greets you. "Hello, Marina. Looking for some liquid courage?"
>>611671 You see some key pressure points that would let you easily collapse the rocks enough for everyone to pass through. The tunnel wouldn't be clear, but everyone could easily fit through the new opening.
>>611672 "Nah, and you know mom would have my scales if she caught me drinking without her permission." I'll smile. "Hey, turns out we got some new blood in town. And they've got a mind to go through Callosum tunnel to have a word with my mom because the brains stole their sails. Got anybody willing to lend a back?"
>>611679 "Well, I can check that out easy, but I figure it would be nice if you met the ponies wanting to go through first. Besides, I doubt they're going to wait…" I'll shrug. "But, I'll be back in two shakes of a pony tail and bring word about mom and the others." And out I go, swimming just below the surface for extra speed as I head out to the breach, and then open water towards Depression Square.
>>611679 I grit my teeth as I look at them. "How many are the one's fighting? If We are able to meet up with them and help them… then perhaps we can destroy this whole place and stop whatever vile works our captors are doing to us…"
>>611682 You swim down, across, and up, and pop out on the other side. The gatehouse at Dementia's Breach is unmanned – or, unbrained – because the Mind Flyers there have been destroyed. Madness Square may be haphazard, but it seems positively cozy by comparison. It has bright and sparkly Aquamarine. This city is the opposite: it's dark. Amethyst walls. All the buildings are made out of metal bars, like cages.
You even smashed Mind Flyers and seaponies littering this area.
By the sound of it, the battle is still going on further inside. From here you can see some residential cages, a large whaling facility cage, and some hydroponics cages. You also see a great armory cage up above, and a cathedral cage here, too.
You can see Callosum Tunnel here. Someone smashes it open from the other side!
>>611688 >>611687 Ah geez. "Wow, you guys really were in a hurry! Sounds like the fight's still going, though, so sit tight while I head back and tell the volunteers not to worry about it, and patch the hole until we come back through it." Then it's back in the water to the other breach and the bar. I'll try not to think about the seapony corpses too hard.
>>611693 You exit the building, which appears to be some kind of refinery made out of a dark purple material, through a window on the upper level. Down below you can see a group of ponies about to assault the doors below.
Madness Square may be haphazard, but it seems positively cozy by comparison. It has bright and sparkly Aquamarine. This side of the city is the opposite: it's dark. Amethyst walls. All the buildings are made out of metal bars, like cages.
You even smashed Mind Flyers and seaponies littering this area.
By the sound of it, the battle is still going on further inside. From here you can see some residential cages, a large whaling facility cage, and some hydroponics cages. You also see a great armory cage up above, and a cathedral cage here, too.
There is a building in the back made of a dark purple material, where a group of living sea ponies have gathered. They appear to be prepared for an assault.
>>611699 "Well, the fight's still going, but away from the tunnel. But it looks like that group of ponies broke through the tunnel while I was swimming over there. Until we get back, do you think you could plug it up? I don't want any escapees using that as a way out while I try to track down mom."
>>611699 Rhanna was a tad bothered for not having a weapon…So she picked a stone on the ground. Maybe she could throw this at any bad guy? After getting her weapon she followed Selena. And waved to the ponies Instinctively she analyzed them '1d10' appraise
>>611707 >>611701 Both of you call out to the sea ponies at the same time from different directions. They fan out and turn their spears, tridents, harpoon guns, nets, scimitars, etc. on each of you. "Discordians? You will know the Moon's wrath!"
>>613128 "It would be nice, because we could use a little bit of divine intervention with Nightmare Moon on my heels. I just… never really got into praying. I don't think my parents did either. Or my sisters for that matter…"
>>613132 "Oh, I remember being taken away from the ship by one of the crew, I believe he was a friend of my mother like you? … He brought me to a acquaintance of his on the Equestrian east coast who owned a shop there. I lived with the shopkeep for years and helped her out in return. It wasn't too bad, she was nice to me… but I felt a little lonely because I missed my family and didn't know where they were."
>>613148 Rub my temples. "The more I learn about my mother the more I start to think she was… insane or something. I never knew I had an actual halfsister… I'm an adult and I never learned about this. This is just beyond messed up."
>>613394 "You are free to pick about the ruins, but they will not be there. I know what you seek, and I have knowledge of great import to your journey, but now is not the time for words – it is the time for action."
>>613395 >>613396 "Some of our fallen comrades are not dead. Search among them, and save who you can. And now, we attack!"
The formation begins to reform into a battle structure.
>>613410 Hurry up and bring him to Selena and Lilly
>>613404 >>613411 ''I found this guy!'' She quickly took the bandages and started wrapping them around the holes on his body ''mister…hey mister are you okay?'' She shook him up a bit after he was all patched up. she also tried to hear his heartbeat
>>613419 I'll yell out to the others. "I found someone!" Then back to her. "Don't worry, we'll have you out from there in no time at all. And there's a healer, so you'll be feeling great in no time at all!" I'll timidly flit about for a second. "I don't know if I can lift this by myself…" Can I see where it's got her trapped?
>>613427 Oh… I'm gonna need a lot of help for this. At least three other ponies… Four, if someone can drag her out. >>613426 "There's no way I can lift this thing alone, do you know if anyone can help? I can see your healer is already busy, but…"
>>613429 After departing the clutches of Reptil, which is in flux between the two major gangs (The Red Army Faction and the Cloud Street Families), you have finally moved out of the ominous clouds and storms plaguing the Equestrian coast – you wonder what is causing them to be so irritable for so long. There are two new strange changes in the world that you learned about while there: People's Dictator warned you that the prices which are currently on the rise in the world foreshadow more than just simple inflation. She suggests that a democratic system is inevitable, even in Equestria. Moreover, a mad scientist in Reptil made the wild assertion that technology is about to undergo a revolution involving steam essence and electrical essence – ushering in a world totally unlike its progenitor.
While at sea, you found yourselves assaulted by Mind Flyers, mysterious rock-like constructs that use psychic power to kill a pony by frying its brain (without ever injuring the flesh). They struck with dark cunning and stole your sails, leaving you stranded. In order to retrieve them, you donned dive suits to enter a reef below, which turned out to be the sunken Aquamarine City, populated by Lunite Seaponies, who seek to drive out the Mind Flyers. After a fateful meeting with the High Priestess Mera, she cryptically mentioned she knows important details about your adventure through clairvoyance, and has asked that you try to save those injured ponies that aren't yet dead.
>>613434 You are in Depression Square, one of the two main frontal regions of the brain-shaped Aquamarine City. All of the buildings here look like cages. This was the site of a great battle, there are dead or injured ponies and mind flyers all over the place.
Your party is here, and nearby the seapony warparty has engaged the last holdout of the mind flyers in the guardhouse.
>>613431 ''Miss Selena you take it from here I'll be right back to help the others!'' She said rusing to Lilly >>613435 She clapped her hands together and looked around the thing for the best way it could be removed,or even better,where they could break parts of it off so it is easier to move the rest '1d10' appraise
>>613436 Sometimes, you just need a hero. By your might alone, place your hooves at the base and apply all of your strength and will. You strain… your face turns blue, and your veins pop out… but it begins to shift.
Can this be true? I don't believe what I see! A mare your age, to be as strong as you are… a memory stirs. You make me think of a mare, from years ago…
>>613443 Uh. U h. What do we do for ponies in shock. I never studied medicine. Oh geez. "Stay with us, we got you out from under the rock. The healer's sewing up someone, but she'll be with you soon, okay?"
>>613454 >>613452 I'll chew my bottom lip for a second. >>613456 "Hey, you managed to dig through the gate between here and Madness Square, right? Do you think you can open it up again so we can get the wounded back to safety?"
>>613476 "The Mind Flyers are the preferred troops of the Discordians here. They will not give up the city so easily – this is where they make the accursed things."
>>613477 More like "crawl through the tiny tunnel created by a diamond dog through a rock collapse". It's very rough, uncomfortable, and makes you feel like it's going to collapse and kill you instantly the entire time.
>>613478 "Although they appear to be stone, they are actually hardened, dead coral."
>>613479 "Will a stretcher fit? We should expand it."
More like "crawl through the tiny tunnel created by a diamond dog through a rock collapse". It's very rough, uncomfortable, and makes you feel like it's going to collapse and kill you instantly the entire time.
>>613481 I'll nod. "We've got two who are already in pretty bad shape, so let's make it fast. I'll see if the digger can help from the other end, too." >>613480 "Hey, do you think you can help them make the tunnel bigger? We need to be able to get the wounded out of Depression Square fast."
>>614061 >>614062 From the outside, it looks like a church. Large, stained glass, beautiful. Inside it's clearly under construction and big areas are warded off with hanging sheets and warning signs. She leads you to the back, into what appears to be some sort of preparation or storage room. There's a table here, and she offers a pot of tea.
Then, she addresses Lilly and Maeda gravely. "You are the ones from my dreams."
>>614070 >>614071 "Close. The Celestial Calendar begins 701 years ago. That would place the date I gave you three years before the Day of Ruin. You see, your enemy is not Nightmare Moon – it's one of the creations of Nightmare Moon, before she met her end. A creation made for war, with no purpose but to defend the remnant temples of the Moon here in Equestria. Long has it slumbered, but it has been awakened again. Now you understand more fully."
>>614069 She felt that she would not have much benefit from this conversation. And she could always ask later iif there was something important that she missed. Right now her curiosity was tingling and she asked to be excused. A little trip around the place wouldn't hurt right?
>>614079 "Like all abominable Nightmare creations, it is a malformed and twisted mirror of reality. The monstrosity is called the Cralund, and it hunts by tracking its quarry through dreams. As long as one remains awake, one is invisible to it in that realm, though once tracking is completed, outrunning it may be impossible. As far as I know, it prefers its claws to strike, which are enlarged an exaggerated versions of diamond dog claws. They are as long as knives."
>>614080 "I believe that your sails have been taken back to the Discordian treasure hoard in a portion of the city called the Lair of the Homunculus, past Dreamer's Walk. Even with your sails restored, though, it would be a long journey to your destination. We utilize an underwater ship to help us wage war on the Discordians. If you help us drive them out of the four major remaining centers of the city, including those two areas, and two others – Agnosia and Lost Archipallium – I will lend you our ship, which is much faster than yours. Overall, you would save time, assuming a fast victory over the Discordians."
>>614083 "Prophetic dreams are the realm of the Lady of the Night. As for its target… I think that's established."
>>614084 "The Aquamarine City is one of the most ancient strongholds of the Discordians. Losing it will be a crushing blow to the Lord of Chaos, and his followers will not give it up easily. Any time we have tried to press deeper in, they have launched counterattacks with their constructs which forced us to retreat and protect our civilians – I expect we'll be on the defensive the entire time you're gone. If you have questions about what you will face, perhaps you should ask them now."
>>614085 Where to explore? >Outside somewhere >In the curtained off areas of the temple >Upstairs
>>614088 "Other than its natural blindspot in tracking, no. I would suggest, therefore, succeeding quickly."
>>614089 "The brains, you mean? They are actually made of hardened brain coral – this is where Discord has them manufactured. I fear you'll face much stouter than that within. We know that there are Reapers, at least."
>>614093 "It is not a 'he', it is an it. And I believe you will have no trouble finding it when the timer on her hoof runs out."
>>614091 "Reapers were the earliest of Discord's creations, and still the most feverishly loyal. Not all Draconequus possess his power – he had to steal it to elevate himself to divinity. The Reapers accomplish this for him."
>>614092 You head up the staircase. It's really long. You spend about twenty minutes walking up the spiral stone staircase and there's no sign of a landing. You're starting to get tired. Keep going?
>>614094 "There is a more serious issue. They will need some direction around the depths of the City. But the task would be perilous for anyone involved. I asked you here to help me pick who to send with these outsiders to defeat the Discordians."
>>614100 "Believe me, the Cralund is very much real. It may track through dreams, but once it arrives, it will come for flesh in the waking world. After all, dream manipulation has one true weakness: it is at the mercy of the dreamer to awaken at any moment."
>>614099 "Holy macaroni this is long…" she wheezed a bit. but in a moment she had her child energy kick back in…at least partially since she haven't actually ate much. but she pressed on and planned to remain like that until the end
>>614102 Mom frowns. "No, I wouldn't dream of sending you, you're too little. Maybe Coriander… He isn't normally here in the square to defend it anyway, and he does have an understanding of the whole city…"
>>614105 I'll scrunch. "But Coriander's got his plants, and maintaining the steam things down there. I can't take his place. Besides, I'm not going to let my baby brother stick his neck into something this dangerous."
>>614108 You open the hatch. You're… at sea level? All around, waves lap gently at the side of your hatch. Examining it more closely, it appears to open from thin air a single inch above the sea line. There's nothing below it visible, no long staircase or ladder. It's like a portal or something… or cloaking… or you don't know.
>>614110 "Do you have any other questions? I think it would be best if you come back to rest and regroup after each portion of the city, though if you are in a true hurry, I would understand pressing on."
>>614111 She immediately closed it. Holding her chest with one hand "Okay…that's scary…" she said taking a steady breath. And then looking around for anything she might have missed If there was nothing more interesting she might as well go back…
>>614116 "I believe it may be injured only with silvered weapons."
>>614117 Your ship is nearby. This might be a fast way back instead of trying to swim up. You can still see your breath lines that run all the way to the bottom of the sea coming off the side of the ship.
>>614118 You regrouped in the temple in Madness Square for important information from the High Priestess.
"Where are you traveling in such a hurry? I naturally know where Maeda and Lilly seek to go."
>>614119 "Good! Why don't you do that now, and meet back here?"
>>614120 The temple looks under construction. Large sections are blocked off with curtains. The other ponies from the group (you recognize several from the ship above) are here meeting with the High Priestess.
>>614121 Run toward the High priestess and the group at large! They better have a good explanation with the shit that I've been through! "HA! There you are! And you thought you could throw and leave me for dead with those brain people huh! Well shame on you for its not my fault those ponies in the quarterback Inn foamed themselves in the mouth those milkdrinkers! Cant even stomach a pint of my brew those Lilly livered scoundrels!"
>>614127 At least. You finally get down. Marina is gone, but now some diamond dog is here! He looks weird – a little shorter than your parents, and he has a bow and arrow. He's also yelling about scoundrels.
>>614128 >>614126 Mera blinks in surprise at the sudden entrance. "I'm… sorry, what? You are… one of the outsiders?"
>>614130 >>614132 "An outsider?! Ha! They throw me outside but thats because they cant handle my swag!"
…. "Uhrrmm.. but yes, technically I am an outsider. Outsider now that is but a prisoner of those brain people! You ponies thought you could put me in jail forever but I've had my fair shares of breaking out of prisons heh!"
>>614135 "Yeah, turns out they took Depression Square. Now there's a bunch of ponies and stuff who are trying to go deeper in the crab." I'll think for a minute, but then decide to be honest. "She wanted to know if you wanted to guide them, since you know your way around."
>>614141 "Well, that's the thing. You've got your farm to take care of, while I've got nothing to do. Besides, baby brother, I'm not letting you go get into dangerous situations." I'll cross my forehooves. "Let's be honest, here, Coriander. You do more good here than I would. I'm about the only other pony that's free to help them, so I figure I should be the one to go, since I don't have a job."
>>614141 >>614142 I turn to the pony called Mera and give her a sight full of indignation yet grinning ……. "Hwe? Really now?" "Mind Flayers? So those things do have names. So you and your friends are prisoners who escaped also aye?"
>>614139 She nodded frantically "yeah yeah! I saw our ship Reallyclose too! It was unreal! It opened up from nothing "
>>614140 "Oh a brewer? Just like miss Selena! I wanna be a brewer too! Just like her!"
>>614141 "Oh oh we fought those brains in the boat and there was something I forgot to tell! They are really weak against magical projectiles, just like the ones they shoot themselves!" She barked happily, hoping the information could be useful
>>614145 >>614148 "Oh! Then that makes us friends then! Good to know that there are decent ponies out here to rid of scums like those floating brain thingies."
>>614147 >>614145 I turn my attention to the pony who called me. "Hmmmm.. no but I do remember where the prison is. Me and several of…. of my pony captives are imprisoned and without our combined efforts we would not be able to escape. If you want more information I think those guys are around here since they followed me." "Now talking about those ponies where are those guys?"
>>614146 I turn my attention to you full of burning loathing visible through my eyes. "Huh? Miss Selena?" …. "A brewer… here?"
>>614159 >>614154 I turn my attention to you. "Listen well sister, a brewers life is full of challenges and danger. But when two brewers meet in real life, their aura's and ego's will clash, the two will be unable to stand each others presence and in the end the presence of two master brewers in one place will end in strife, treachery… and war."
…. "That is what my master told me. Old man is a good brewer but is kinda touched in the head you know what I mean?"
>>614152 Shiban/D.D dog Crazy dog?! Preposterous! What Malicious Slander! I turn my attention to you and stand straight.
"What? And who are you to accuse of me of insanity?!"
>>614156 Then turn to you. "Good! I can join you and your crew! I fear we have left more prisoners under the tender nursing of those mind flyers and leaving those poor souls to their fate is something I cannot stand." I then hand my to you. "Name is Flagon and you?" >>614154
>>614162 "Oh right right sorry…but wait a minute what is so difference then? I Mean why is a chemist more advanced?"
>>614163 "Well goodthing I'm nota brewer yet, so we should get along just fine!" She said offering him a paw "On the head huh? You tell me…" she said lowering her head and exposing a massive scar that started from above her right eye and went to the back of her head, giving the child a rather long bald spot… "You can say my parents did the same…"
>>614173 "My parents…bad stuff…they grabbed a…Aw nevermind…I just…don't wanna really talk about that…I ran away from home after they did this from me…I found miss Selena and she is gonna teach me how to be a CHEMIST!" She said giving Selena's leg a hug
"While we've been speaking, I've had our team unsealing the passage to Dreamer's Walk, which connects to both squares. For defensive purposes, I've only had the passage via Depression Square opened, so we have more time to fall back if you're overrun or retreating. Marina can show you the way. Good luck – and remember to stay together."
>>614414 Yes, yes it does. >>614415 "That's usually where we bring in stuff if we can't use the underwater boat." >>614416 >>614419 I'll clap my hooves together. "Alright, look, before we go anywhere, I have to ask: when is the last time you ponies ate? Your stomachs are growling loud enough to cause waves."
>>614426 I'll hum to myself as I set about getting the food ready. The greens I got from my brother, as well as some of those clams… might be able to make a nice salad-type thing. Ooh! And two of the yellowtail. >>614427 "Well, it's a boat that sails underwater. It's pretty fast, but like mom said, we can't just loan it out while we've got this mess going on."
>>614429 >>614428 >>614427 >>614425 >>614424 In the square proper there is a tower which is highly irregular. It is a five-floor tower, which has a staircase and five rooms, one for each floor. The curious thing is that each floor only consists of that one room, and each juts off from the building in a different direction. It makes it looks like seaweed or something. Like most things in this square, it is made of Aquamarine. It doesn't look stable.
Marina leads you to a room on the fourth floor. This appears to be a bedchamber. In the center of the room there is a strange fire. It is a frozen pillar of fire – it radiates light and heat, but does not move. Totally stopped in time.
>>614434 "Don't touch it, it's hot." >>614435 "Of course it looks unsafe, we took it from Discord followers. And the fire works perfectly fine." >>614436 Delish. "Alright, everyone, lunch is served." And I'll hoof out a serving for everyone. And, thanks to Coriander's supplies, the effects are double, I believe you said.
>>614454 I'll smile widely. "Isn't it just? None of the other seaponies appreciate what greens can do for a meal, even with my brother running his farm and providing a good source of stuff besides seaweed. I'll be sure to tell Coriander you gals really enjoyed the fruits of his labor."
>>614465 "It's a door, silly. It divides sections." >>614466 "Who knows, really. Discord wasn't really going for obvious answers when he made this place. But, we've got to go through here to go deeper into the crab. So let's get going." I'll start trying to open the door.
This… 'chamber' is… huge. There's a sort of sidewalk with guardrails that twists along a great path, splitting in places and rejoining in others. But outside the sidewalk, there's nothing but… space. A huge, great black void with distant stars. In all directions, seemingly infinitely.
There is faint music and light here. Nebulous sights of colored clouds float vacantly in the void.
>>614468 "Okay, from what I've heard of ponies who've actually managed to make it here, it might get weird. So don't split up." >>614469 "Of course seaponies eat fish. A mare can't live on seaweed alone." I'll shake my head. "Nah, this is Dreamer's Walk. And it's really for the best not to try and make sense of it. Doing so would only give you head aches." >>614470 I'll nod. "More or less. Keep an eye and ear out for anything violent, by the way. I don't know if anything fell back here while mom took Depression Square."
>>614481 >>614482 You proceed cautiously, and generally walk the Dreamer's Walk without incident. Upon reaching the great door at the other side, you realize that most of your party is now missing.
Clouds have descended over the path. They're in there somewhere…
>>614480 You notice that a cloud of smoke is descending from above. You try to outrun it, but get caught up in it.
Suddenly, it disappears. But now the void is no longer filled with clouds – you see things out there. Visions of the past. You see yourself and Coriander traveling with your mother. Further back, you see your mother waving off the back of a ship at a green-bearded stallion on the shore. Further still, you see a hunting pack of sea ponies, attacking a ship…
Glancing back at the path, it's grown more complex, too. You're not sure which way is the way to the door on the other side.
And no one else is here!
Route? FL L S R FR
>>614483 You don't see the cloud descending until it's already there. When it clears, you notice everyone is gone. The void… it's not a void anymore. You see depictions of your greatest failures. Being beaten by your parents. The sad walk through the rain. That time you let Selena down. The ground below you vibrates. In the distance, you see specks approaching… Mind Flyers? You better solve this maze quickly – there are so many pictures that you can't see the route straight through very easily.
Left Straight Right
>>614484 Suddenly everything is colored! Oh no, it must be a cloud. You stumble about and…
You're floating, in the void… Images form and fade all around you. You see skeletons. Even though they have no features, you just KNOW they're your daughters. You see Face, dead in foreign lands… All your friends are gone, and now you see visions of mind flyers approaching…
>>614485 "Ugh…what is…gah…Miss Selena I-I'm sorry! No…Wait… oh gosh it's those brains again!" She shook her head trying to clear her thoughts and ran to the left In the while she tried to figure out what was happening. '1d10' appraise what I can she also took a look to see if she could dig in here…
>>614490 Grr. I can't just stay in one spot… Forward, then. Knowing Discord, going backwards would probably be the same as going forwards. Either that or going left is going forward- whatever. I'm sticking to this direction for now. I'll get my head out of the clouds one way or the other.
>>614491 You're on a great marble path floating above a void. If you can burrow through the ground here, you'll fall into the void. It seems easier to just jump the guard rail if you want to be in the void.
>>614495 She ran following the path. meanwhile she looked through her pockets for anything she could possibly use. She was sure that she kept a few of the fish bones to chew on later… meanwhile she looked back to the brain. Are there more with it? How many? Do they look like regular ones or are they stronger? '1d10' appraise
>>614559 Ow! Ow ow ow… Stupid, stupid, stupid! Of course pulling levers would be a trap! I guess I'm kinda stuck now, since I can't really limp but so far on three legs… Where did all this stuff even come from, anyway?
>>614573 "I HAVE BEEN WAITING HERE FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS SINCE BRIEFLY AFTER I SET EVENTS IN MOTION THAT WOULD CAUSE YOU TO MEET ME HERE I WASN'T SURE YOU'D ANSWER A LETTER SO THIS SEEMED MORE RELIABLE MEET ME IN MADNESS SQUARE ONCE YOU ARE DONE WITH THE LOCALS I AM SURE YOU ARE NOT SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT DISCORDIANISM IS NOT MUCH OF A TEAM SPORT I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ASSISTING THE NATIVES MEANWHILE YOU NEED A LIFT TAKE THIS."
He offers you an umbrella, and then hops away. How he does this mid-air is a mystery.
>>614575 If you wrapped your leg up in unprocessed cloth, that might make it bleed less and keep the bone stable.
>>614600 "The only medically inclined pony amongst us is the Goodwife, and she's mostly on-hoof for dealing with things like foaling and small maladies. We don't have real doctors, which is why having miss Selena come by is what probably saved those ponies we found in Depression Square." I'll pat your head. "And it'll be fine, I'm sure. A little rest, maybe a once-over by miss Selena, and I'll be back to leading you guys to your sails."
>>614607 ''Yeah…Miss Selena is great.'' She shrinks a bit as Marina touches around the scar on her head. ''A-alright, I can't wait to get back to the boat…This place is cool but it's kinda creepy…And cold…''
>>615653 She sniffed the uneasy air, her droopy ears perking up a bit
>>617321 >>617322 Though it is dark, up ahead, you detect an abrupt end to the hallway, in the form of a drop. There is no stair or ladder down, just a fall. Due to the darkness, you can't see the room it opens up to, but it is wider than the tunnel, at least, if the acoustics are any judge.
Before you can consider further, the walls of the room begin to groan… and shift. The exits… vanish. Well, you imagine they're still there, but the walls of the room have rotated, and no longer line up with the exit!
>>617358 >>617357 >>617355 The area that was vibrating before breaks off entirely from the wall and begins to walk into the room. Soon it becomes clear that it is something else entirely – a creature with a texture identical to the wall's.
The creature that you see before you is a monster in every sense of the word. To describe it in terms of things you have seen would be useless, because you have not encountered anything like it. It is covered in folds and ridges, like brain, but nothing is in the right place. It's almost like this creature was created by someone who had heard of body parts, but wasn't exactly sure about their functions or how to put them together or where to put them.
It "leans" out toward you with its protrusion, but you can't call it a face, or even a head. This is what it looks like: a mass, like a roiling foam. At the base of the mass is a pharynx, and you see the following above it, in this order starting from the bottom, (major protrusion) tongue, (major recess) teeth and gums, (protrusion) lips nose and eyes, (recess) thumb index middle ring little, (protrusion) hand – without fingers, remember, (recess) wrist forearm elbow, (final protrusion) arm shoulder neck trunk hip leg.
Lilly can see, from the other side, that hanging off of its back like a tail is its foot (no toes), toes (separate from the foot), and genitals (all on one protrusion).
>>617402 "I'm trying to do that, but I'll help out if someone falls down again." And I'm off to get out of this warzone. Once we're done here I'll have to get Selena to splint my leg, I can't keep hobbling around like this…
>>617425 You slash and slash, but it's not enough to finish it!
>>617428 You slash at the throat – a wave of psychic blood pours out, and the colossus collapses to the ground.
As it dies, the walls of the room rotate again. Neither of the two previous tunnels is accessible, but the hole in the wall where the Cortical Homunculus entered now lines up with a tunnel that leads deeper. Perhaps more interestingly, there is a treasure cache waiting in the tunnel – perhaps loot off less fortunate victims of the trap.
>>617437 Rhanna proudly stood on top of the fallen thing. "did you all see that? I did the last hit! I did it! We won yay!" She does a victory pose and a fanfare plays on the background to celebrate her victory '1d10' epic fanfare
>>617484 There's a pistol, but it's missing the grip, strangly. The metal mechanism is here, but the wooden part of the gun has been removed cleanly. You can still operate it, maybe, but it might burn your hoof, or be easier to fumble…